California governor vetoes unemployment insurance for undocumented immigrants

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) vetoed a bill on September 28 that would have extended unemployment insurance benefits to undocumented immigrants and those in the country illegally under what was called the Excluded Workers Pilot Program. Newsom cited the price of the program as the reason for his veto.

About 140,000 undocumented workers would have been eligible for benefits under the program. The program would have allowed immigrants who could not legally work in the United States to claim up to $300 per week for a maximum of 20 weeks if applicants could prove:

  1. They were California residents.
  2. They had been unemployed for at least one week.
  3. They were ineligible for regular state unemployment insurance benefits.

The Employment Development Department would have administered the program separately from the state’s regular unemployment insurance program, which the agency administers for individuals who live in California and can legally work in the United States. Under the regular program, unemployment insurance claimants can receive up to $450 per week for a maximum of 26 weeks.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

Additional reading:

Unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance fraud

Unemployment insurance in California